ADLESTROP 164 all out
TGCC 160 for 6 (revised target 157)
Grafton’s first league visit to high flying Adlestrop was a wet affair, with rain all day Friday, but with a strong drying wind we were game on. On paper, this looked like a very tough game, Adlestrop having two of the top three run scorers and two of the top three wicket takers in the division.
Grafton were down to 10 men at the start due to Rich Harris working, then getting stuck behind a fallen tree, then not being able to find the ground, then stopping to make his excuses to Matt on the drive past the outfield, and then taking half an hour to get changed, none of which time was spent warming up.
In the meantime, Grafton started brightly, Barry using the conditions well, bowling with the howling wind and finding the pitch helpful, while an unusually nervous Benjamin was working hard bowling his tight lines into the gale. A short break for rain meant a couple of vital overs were lost, and on resumption Benjamin, with renewed vigour, found the bat on a legside clip, Farrow did the business, and the dangerous Keen was back in the pavilion. Barry found some good lengths, and despite a couple of tough chances going down, picked up 2-46 in what was his best spell for Grafton in his debut season.
With Barry now bowled out, Rich Harris took up the mantle with the wind and bowled 3.5 beautiful overs before a pulled hamstring left him crocked on the sidelines. Adam Kirk replaced Howard from the into the gale end, while Ed Harris took over from the now departed Rich. Harris mixed up some unplayable deliveries with some pies, returning 3 for 30, while Harvey burgled 2 at the death, leaving Adlestrop on 164 off 43.3 overs, thus giving Grafton an extra over for their chase.
The rain rules tend to work in the team batting seconds favour, with the extra over for bowling out the opposition, Grafton needed 157 off 44 overs. With the rain causing a few gremlins in the wicket, this was looking a tough ask for a side that hasn’t excelled in the chasing department in recent years.
The reply started with the crippled Harris and Russeller. Harris played some delightful drives to offer a glimpse of what he will offer to Grafton when fit, but the popping length did for him caught behind. Harvey and Russell took the score into the 30s, but both departed in quick succession. Kirk senior (26) and Farrow (23) batted superbly to take Grafton to 84 for 3, before another mini collapse meant captain Harris gave up prowling the technical area, and jumped up the order to enter the fray, with the pressure building at 93 for 5 in the 34th over.
The equation stood at 65 required off 10 overs. Harris took his time to settle, but when Onens departed caught on the slog, he grasped the game by the scruff of the neck.
Adam Kirk joined Harris, with a lot on the young man’s shoulders. The key stage in the game saw the return of Adlestrop’s main bowlers, captain Keen and spinner Rawlings. 5 overs to go, 40 needed. Nothing was going to faze Harris though. Steady as she goes….37 needed off 4 overs. A huge over for Grafton followed, as Kirk and then Harris took on Keen, hitting three boundaries, now leaving 23 required off 3 overs. Some good running and getting the one bad ball to the boundary keeps the game in the balance, 13 required off 2 overs. With 8 needed off 8 balls, Kirk smashed Keen down the ground for another huge boundary, meaning 4 off the last over would see us home.
Harris on strike for the 44th and last over, runs the ball to third man and ambles a single, which then led to a conversation with the umpire “is this the last over??….oh crap”. Kirk on strike, 3 needed off 5 balls….dot….3 off 4 balls. A Kirk single followed by one for Harris gives us the guaranteed tie, before Kirk smites the penultimate ball to the boundary to see us home. Harris finished on a superb 38 from 36 balls and Kirk 18 from 13 balls, both deservedly lapped up the applause.
What a game of cricket, against a good set of lads, with Grafton showing some true grit throughout the team to see us over the line.